National award for transforming data into knowledge

A collaboration between Leeds-based The Phoenix Partnership (TPP) and the University of Leeds has won a national Research Council UK impact award from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

(l-r): Owen Johnson, Samantha Crossfield, and Chloe Williams


The collaboration was a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), a government initiative through which recent graduates are given the opportunity to help businesses access knowledge and expertise in universities.

The University of Leeds was awarded the “RCUK Knowledge Base Impact” award, which recognises the Research Council-funded partnership that has delivered the most outstanding academic impact.

The partnership developed “ResearchOne”, an electronic health records research database. It includes ethically approved, non-identifiable data from opted-in electronic patient records held in TPP’s “SystmOne”, a clinical computer system used by many healthcare professionals across the UK.

It has the potential to be one of the largest healthcare databases in the world and to contain over 35 million records, drawn from GPs, child health, community units, palliative care, Out-Of-Hours and Accident & Emergency departments.

Samantha Crossfield, a postgraduate, was embedded in both organisations as the Knowledge Transfer Associate to project manage the deliveries of the partnership.

Identifying how the partnership could deliver a novel database for research, she said: “The ultimate aim is to provide researchers with access to health data for the purpose of research that helps to understand and improve patient care. By bringing together patients, clinicians and researchers, we can look into issues, like dementia and cancer survival rates, and make a real difference to patient outcomes.”

Owen Johnson from the University of Leeds, who was the academic supervisor for the collaboration, explained more:

“TPP partnered with us after several years working together to use clinical information systems within our medical and nursing degree programmes. They were keen to use their insights into health data to help improve the quality and pace of medical research and wanted to ensure this was done within the strictest possible ethical frameworks.

“This award is a fantastic recognition of our work and the impact we are having in driving a radically new approach to large scale health and care research.”

Read more about the partnership and the award.

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